Religion Magazine

and Now Ethiopians Can't Cook

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Phineas T Barnum supposedly said there is no such thing as bad publicity.
The veracity of that expression is debatable, but both the Rabbanut and the Ethiopian community are getting a lot of publicity nowadays, somewhat leaning to the side of bad, and perhaps soon they'll each be able to offer an opinion on Barnum's claim.
The latest is a report that the rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Rav Moshe Havlin, banned a couple of female Ethiopian employees from cooking for a catering company in Kiryat Gat until their Jewish status can be clarified and confirmed.

These Ethiopian employees are not new and have worked there for years, but only now are they being banned from cooking due to their Jewishness being unconfirmed at this point.
Rav Havlin's lawyer clarifies that Rav Havlin did not ban Ethiopian employees from cooking, but banned all employees whose Jewish status has not been confirmed and is questionable.
In the previous case, with the Barkan winery, it was somewhat understandable, even if upsetting. That was the Eida Hachareidis and they do not follow the psak of the Rabbanut or accept Rabbanut rulings and decisions, just as they do not accept anything else from the State of Israel. The Rabbanut decided the Ethiopians are Jewish, or need to undergo conversions lchumra - very nice, but that does not obligate the Eida (in their eyes).
In this case it is more surprising and even shocking because this is the Rabbanut itself making problems and raising questions against its own decisions. You want to check the status of these people out, go check them out - it should not take long. They have been cooking for 3 years, how long will it take to find their paperwork and computer files in your own Rabbanut offices and confirm their statuses one way or another? Why do they always seem to shoot first and think later, as Justice Sonia Sotomayer put it?
If there is a halachic problem it surely needs to be dealt with. There is surely a sensitive way to deal with it without destroying people's lives. If there is no halachic problem, people who create halachic problems that do not exist should be punished for it. There are lives and people at the other end of these problems.
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